Audi A5 coupe cuts dash in style and space race
- Credit: Audi/Matt Vosper Photography
Audi's A5 took the premium coupe market by storm nine years ago – now the all-new model is even more spacious, practical and desirable, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
If ever there is a misused description of a car it's 'coupe-like' – from formidable 4x4 with a less boxy body to five-door hatchback with tapering tailgate. Car-makers can stretch the design this way and that but, by no stretch of my imagination, are they 'coupe-like'.
For me, a coupe has a svelte shape, two doors, four seats and a lidded boot or lithe liftback.
Think Audi A5. Audi has nailed the coupe, and market judging by the number of two-door A5s on the road while the five-door A5 is Sportback – that's bang on.
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Looks and image
The A5 has worn its age well – unbelievably it's been around nine years – but despite sharper lines, you might assume the latest A5 is a facelift. The styling is evolutionary but the car's new from the ground up, sharing its platform with the latest A4 saloon.
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Think of it as a two-door, more dynamic A4 saloon – a practical four-seater.
Under the bonnet
There are 190PS and 252PS 2.0-litre turbo petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines, 218 and 286PS 3.0-litre V6 TDI diesels and a 354PS 3.0-litre V6 turbo petrol in high-performance S5. The 190PS, four-cylinder units are offered with manual and S tronic automatic gearboxes, the rest auto only with quattro all-wheel drive.
These tried-and-tested engines have up to 17% more performance while using up to 22% less fuel, helped by the new A5 being up to 60kg lighter.
Diesels will be the bulk but if you're wary of diesel the 2.0-litre petrol engines suit the A5 with the more powerful one, mated to the seven-speed auto box, delivering blistering performance and 35mpg overall, 40mpg with longer journeys.
How it drives
The A5 is not the sportiest coupe but that never deterred buyers. It's neat and tidy on twisty roads but new electromechnical power steering, which adapts to vehicle speed, is well weighted but doesn't give much feedback.
Given it sporty image, S line is a popular trim, gaining more dramatic body styling but also gets stiffer suspension and damping so you're more aware of what's going on under the wheels, especially with optional bigger 19in rims. It's restless rather than unpleasantly firm but comfort dynamic suspension is a no-cost option on all but TDI ultra models.
Space and comfort
The new platform and longer wheelbase mean more cabin space for four adults in the sculpted seats, and reasonable access, but six-footers might find head and legroom a mite tight unless those up front give a little.
A slightly bigger 465-litre boot – not much smaller than the A4 saloon – has a wide opening and decent length to take large cases. Standard 40/20/40 split rear seat backs drop flat via handles in the boot and I liked the fold-down hooks to anchor shopping bags on.
The plush cabin features top-notch materials, fit and finish and oozes taste and quality. It's a lovely place to be.
At the wheel
It's more cockpit than a driving position. You sit low with dials and controls ideally placed. Full marks for Audi's MMI (multi media interface) for controlling most functions through a large display screen – it's intuitive, easy to navigate and quick to respond. It's a shame that, given the new design fascia, the screen doesn't retract into the dashboard like some other Audis.
If you're having navigation, pay extra for the 12.3in virtual cockpit, now offered on A5, to alter the emphasis on driver information with smaller instruments and the display dominated by the sat-nav map – it's the way forward.
The Audi A5 has always been one of the most attractive coupes – it's not difficult to see why. Stylish, practical, spacious and beautifully build and this new model takes those talents to new levels of desirability.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Audi A5 Coupe 2.0 TFSI quattro S line S tronic £41,240 (range £30,700 to £47,000)
Engine: 1,984cc, 252PS, four-cylinder, turbo petrol
Performance: 0-62mph 5.8 seconds; top speed 155mph (limited)
MPG: Urban 37.7; extra urban 56.5; combined 45.6 (standard 18in wheels)
CO2 emissions: 141g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 27%
Insurance group: 40 (out of 50)
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,673mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,029mm; H 1,371mm